16 May 2012

And so it begins...

I survived training. Just about... After five gruelling days of blood, sweat and tears* Team Super Happy Janken (janken is Japanese for rock, paper, scissors) was formed. That being the other 10 trainees and I. We bonded over games of janken, shared tasks that were designed for children a third our age, cheap cans of Chau Hai and respect/fear of Cedric our evil overlord trainer. (He was lovely really).
On the last day of training all the trainees gathered in the hotel lobby and followed the members of the group that spoke Japanese like lost puppies as they led us on the subway system from our area down to the district of Shibuya and across Shibuya crossing (one of the biggest street crossings in the world).

This picture doesn't do it justice. Also, I look stupid

Strolling through Shibuya taking pictures of absolutely everything like the massive tourists that we were, we were approached by a young man trying to convince people, and clueless non-natives like ourselves, to eat at the restaurant where he worked. All you can drink for two hours plus food for about 3000yen? Sold! Tucked away in a corner eight storeys high was a lovely little restaurant with tables separated by curtains. As is the tradition in many restaurants we took our shoes off and carried them across the floor and put them under our table which was a level lower than the floor, which meant our butts were planted at floor level and the waitresses towered over us with our food and drinks. 

Press the magic buttons and the waitresses will come
Once our bellies were filled and every waitress serving us challenged to a game of janken we continued on further into Shibuya. No authentic Tokyo night can truly be complete without singing karaoke and that's exactly what we did next. Between the lot of us we rented a room for an hour and gave it socks on the microphones before some of us sensibly called it a night. I was not one of those people.

They're singing Aladdin's 'A Whole New World' in case you're interested

Early the next morning I and two of my fellow trainess were on the bullet train speeding towards Hiroshima at about 260km per hour. Upon arriving we were hurled into yet more training, moving into our apartments, buying things for our apartments, applying for foreign resident and health insurance cards, setting up bank accounts, buying insanely expensive phones and filling out enough paperwork to make me feel sorry for the trees in this country. Luckily we were each assigned a Japanese resident to make the transition a little easier.
My first day teaching was nerve wracking. Four 45 minute back to back classes will wear a person down quickly. I also managed to lose my apartment key that day and run out of phone battery while calling work meaning I had to locate the letting agency several stops over and explain in pigeon Japanese what I needed only to find later when I charged my phone that the office had sent someone to collect and help me. I was not at my apartment when she arrived. C'est la vie. With two days of work behind me and several interesting adventures trying to navigate the train system here I'm settling in bit by bit. Luckily everyone here is so nice and accommodating. I've learned that smiling and bowing will take you a long way. And now for your amusement I have uploaded a video tour of my apartment:

*Note: there were no tears and definitely no blood involved in training. I did bang my hand on a table though.


  1. You have an apartment, bank account AND a phone?? Jealous!

    1. Yup. All I need now is a bit of common sense and I'll practically be a real person!!


Thanks for the comment random human. I will put you on my list of people to rescue when the zombie apocalypse comes. Promise.

© The Rule Book
Maira Gall